Pop Art started in the 50s from England, related to the popular culture with massive production, which is commercial and common. As a result, contrast to the previous period of art, it is devalued and mundane culture. However, it is more “ground to earth” and more recognisable from the society, even not the people in the art industry. Its’ beauty and value were not just from the massive recognisable and rapid economic development. It brings the simplicity and irony from the society as an expression in political and diary life, alike to the Dada and Abstract expressionism, or even more ancient ones. Therefore, it could be described as having the essence of the combination of previous period of art.
Roy Lichtenstein — “Whaam!” (1963) Frame: 1747 x 4084 x 60 mm
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
One of the pieces which fascinated me is the “Whamm!”. Apart from the style of comic which I like, it shows the US force fighting wars during the 20th century as irony. Promoting the heroism as the army destroyed the enemies’ aircraft revealing the idealism making wars is a “good thing”, devaluing the meaning of life as individuals.
Robert Rauschenberg — Signs (1970) 109.2 x 86.4 cm
Second of all, printing of the parts of images is a kind of element in Dada. And Robert Rauschenberg combined the style with the popular subjects and events happening at that moment. The bottom left astronaut representing the success of the moon landing in America. And the people on the right side of the artworks are most politician who are assassinated, referring to the recession of the political state in the US. With other ironic, yet true, events on the artwork. It is not hard to have the thought about the future of the America and its people. As a concern, as a “sign”, as a signal.
Claes Oldenburg — Giant 3-Way Plug Scale 2/3 (1970) 1473 x 991 x 749 mm
© Claes Oldenburg
Enlarging dairy materials which are small in real life, a new definition has been created to people. Similar to this large 3-way plug, when it is small, people easily break and lose this kind of things, as they can buy another one with the same function. This makes me to rethink about my possession, whether I easily lose them and buy another substitute, or I keep it careful with care. I think this behaviour include self-discipline and education.
In conclusion, pop art is not something devalued in my opinion, they gives many meaning and reflection with less professional skill, to be more understandable to “mundane”.